cutting back pond plants for winter in PA

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hi guys

was wondering what time should i cut back the lillies and other pond plants for winter? i am in philly pa
 
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sissy

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Once you see the plants turn yellow and that is usually around 55 degrees .You don't want them to rot .
 
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I have already started. As Sissy says just start pulling them out, or cutting them off, as they turn yellow or brown. For me it's an ongoing thing that will probably continue until there is ice on the pond.
 
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i may have to go on a very long business trip and i was wondering could i cut all theplants out now while they are still green?
 

sissy

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of course it won't do them any harm but they may send up a flush of new growth while your gone and may need trimmed when you come back
 

addy1

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I don't recall exactly when I cut mine, you can tell when they are ready, all the leaves start to yellow. I think it was when the leaves started falling. By the time the leaves quit falling and it was time to net the bottom, the lilies where groomed for the winter. mid to end of october, if I recall correctly.

We aren't home until the end of september, so they are on their own, it will be october this year no matter what.
 

Mmathis

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Was about to post the same question!
 

addy1

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The wife just cut all our lillies down and brought the tropical inside this weekend. Also ripped out our mint, parrots feather and bunch of other plants that I have no clue of. We'll be putting the net on the pond for the fall/winter this upcomnig weekend.

We are in Philly.

Craig
 

addy1

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That is my project in the next 3 weeks or so, right now they are still blooming, need to dig the tank hole first. We are going to be in the low 70's/ high 60's for the next week, which will keep the lilies growing, not quite cold enough to groom them.

The rest of the plants, once they die, I will cut them back, they are still blooming.
 

callingcolleen1

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Cattails must freeze in order to produce a "catkin" (fussy brown thing in top).

If you cut down pond plant's or most any plant, when it us green, it drains the bulb and stresses the plant. If you let it die back naturally, the energy will drain from the leafs and return to bulb or root. Some plants don't seem to be affected too much, while others can be greatly affected the following year.
 

callingcolleen1

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I trim most all my pond plants in the spring (except lillys) for several reasons.

1. When the plants die back, the leaf material will settle at the water level and make a natural layer of winter protection. When the snow falls on top of the hump of dead plant material it will add further winter protection and provide better "air flow" to the water in the deep winter, as the leaf litter and dead material on the surface of water are naturally pourus and let more air flow to under the ice. I read in a book that people used to put a bale of hay in the dugout years ago to provide air and oxygen to the fish under the water. I also noticed that my fish winter each year under the roots of my very large floating yellow flag, I think it must be a good idea, if the fish all winter there, and it makes sense to me. The dead material lays on top of the water, and I crumple it up over the plant, and let the snow fall over it, kind of like a winter blanket.

2. The dead stuff comes off the plant much easier in the spring!

3. It's natural.... ever notice the cat tails and rushs that grow naturally along the creek come back so quick and look so lush, and no body every cleans the dead tops of ever!! The plants come back so quick because the energy went back to the bulb in the fall naturally, and the flowing water all year round under the ice helps too. The dead stuff will protect the plant from spring frost even well into the spring, as the new shoots pop up from under the ice and snow.
 

callingcolleen1

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Here is some shots of my ponds from early spring, right after the ice broke up, this year, you can see the new shoots popping up nicely threw the old dried out stuff...
 

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